In 2021, both the distribution and consumption of tobacco products in Ireland were impacted by COVID-19 developments for a second consecutive year. The supply of tobacco products in Ireland remained stable throughout 2021, but there were some minor supply chain disruptions of e-vapour products due to shortages of materials and delays.
Overall, the performance of tobacco remained positive in 2021 despite a marginal drop in smoking prevalence amongst the adult cigarette smoking population. Some habitual smokers reported an increase in their smoking frequency due to home seclusion and remote working arrangements, and many ex-smokers that had switched to vaping resorted back to their old habits.
Despite ongoing investigations by the Irish public health authorities, the “green” versions of menthol cigarettes, launched after the menthol ban in 2020, remained available in the country in 2021 due to persistent consumer demand for flavours, and most notably menthol. These “green” brands were introduced by tobacco players such as Japan Tobacco Inc (represented by NBO Gallaher (Dublin) Ltd), which argue that these alternatives contain a small amount of menthol which is deemed to be legal.
The easing of COVID-19 restrictions had a significant impact on the distribution and sale of tobacco in 2021. Although the international travel ban was lifted, cross-border movement remained strongly discouraged, keeping the average unit price spend on cigarettes high, as consumers were unable to buy cheaper cigarettes abroad.
Despite a temporary boost, tobacco in Ireland is expected to revert back to pre-pandemic growth trends over the forecast period, because the impact of the pandemic is expected to weaken. As travel recovers and COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, consumers will be able to purchase more affordable cigarettes abroad and will take advantage of the re-introduction of duty free when travelling to the UK to access cheaper reserves.
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Passport Tobacco covers the seven major tobacco categories: Cigarettes, Cigars & Cigarillos, Smoking tobacco (made up of Pipe tobacco and RYO tobacco), Smokeless Tobacco (snuff and chewing tobacco), E-Vapour Products (closed and open); Heated Tobacco; and Tobacco Free Oral Nicotine. Smoking paraphernalia such as pipes, rolling papers, lighters or matches, etc., are not included, nor are nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, which are part of Euromonitor's Passport Consumer Healthcare database.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Tobacco research and analysis database.
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